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Published: April 9th 2018
With my terrifying habit of falling asleep while driving, I left NJ at 7am to beat rush hour traffic and allow time for stops. The weather and traffic both cooperated, with intermittent white outs that disappeared into clear roads as swiftly as they came on.
My first stop was in Scranton, PA for a coffee at Adezzo. Although it was hidden down an alley, it was definitely a city favorite and one of the most beautifully decorated cafes I've been in. People had meetings in their favorite upholstered Victorian style chair or sat at the repurposed wood community table working. I only stayed long enough for a bathroom mirror photo and a Honduras drip (only $1.49 in my reusable mug)! I love any place that offers perks for sustainability.
Got back on the road with only 2 hours to go. The weather kept up it's pattern as I cruised along Main Street for the last 30 miles. The single-lame countryroad led me all the way to Ithaca where the sun finally peeked his head out. I knew I'd like it there right away
Our Airbnb was even nicer than the pictures let on and fit our bachelorette party
of 6 perfectly. Marie and I decorated, i prepared lunch, and we welcomed the bride soon after. With everyone there, we headed just 10 minutes north on Route 89 to Taughannock Falls, a 1.9 mile there and back along a teal and mustard coloured gorge culminating in one of the tallest waterfalls in the United States. It reminded me of my gratitude for vision. After LASIK, seeing waterfalls and the ocean were always humbling moments I couldn't fully experience before.
After our hike, we went into Ithaca for a wine and port tasting at Ports of New York, a family-run winery owned by the French Mr. & Mrs. Bouche of Normandy. For $5 each we had a tour, history, and biology lesson as well as tastings of 2 table wines and 2 Ports. The white port was delicious, and uncommon.
At the house, I busied myself cooking an Indian-esque dinner of curried dal, potato masala, and a sweet carrot-beet-coconut side. We busted out the karaoke machine (yes, Marie brought it) and watched Marie and Melissa passionately bust out as many tunes as they could in the half hour before quiet curfew. Then we sat in the hot tub
for a bit before getting to bed. My room was connected to the hot tub room, so I had a the gentle hum of the heater and the lapping of Lake Cayuga far below.
I woke early to set up breakfast: blackberries, eggs, leftover potato masala, and toast. Oh, and mimosas, of course. It was nice to enjoy the silence and a light filled living room until I set the coffee brewing to lure everyone awake.
After breakfast we went into town to check out the Farmers Market. Despite the cold, there were still vendors, including 3 Tibetan spots with momos! I shared an apple cider doughnut with Melissa- still warm and soft. After that, we journeyed north to Finger Lakes Cider House and sampled 5 ciders (out of a million options) and I had a lemon-beet vinegar in ginger beer mocktail. Sooo good. An employee recommended us to try Dano's on route 414 for lunch, so we did.
We expected a hole in the wall place. The outside was actually more like one of those zombie apocalypse structures with a giant wooden door that blended into the wall. However, as soon as the door opened it
was nothing but sophisticated class. My brain was fried so I sharply (like, I was pretty rude and couldn't speak like a human) ordered a coffee, which ended up being a fine Ethiopian with free refills. The table shared the chefs tasting and I special ordered a vegan bento box, Vienna style. The Austrian box included horseradish beer salad, a cold lentil salad, cucumber dill salad, sauté zucchini, spaetzel (made with egg but whatever) and a quinoa mushroom stuffed cabbage. The chef came out to scold us for having our cell phones out and told me he had foraged the shrooms last summer. The place was a definite treat, and reasonably priced, too.
From there we continued north to Seneca Falls and the Women's Rights Museum. Melissa gave us some history on the way and I was humbled by the museum. I'm so not an activist, and the women who started it all were beyond sufferagettes. To think they started the conversation about equal rights for all and it still took another 70 years for the right to vote! Not to mention the battles for fundamental rights women, people of color, and LGBTQ are still fighting. ...sigh
our way back down along Seneca and Cayuga Lakes, we stopped at Thirsty Owl Wine Co for their tasting ($5 for 6 wines + $2 off a bottle). I didn't actually enjoy the dry whites, but ended up getting my dad a tasty port for a mere $17.
Our next stop was probably a mistake, but we had been promising Ali (Melissa's underage sister) all day. We each had ice cream at a place renowned for its 30 flavours at a time. The vegan options were strawberry (yuck) and coffee (wasn't feelin it) so I got Birdseed (choco covered sunflower seeds and peanut butter swirl in vanilla). Wish I had the chocolate merlot sorbet though. Anyway, Cider, a ton of Austrian food, wine AND Ice cream don't mix, as we learned later.
At home, we settled and then quickly rallied for dinner, although none of us were hungry yet. Our uber driver put 2 of us in the trunk (pretty sure that doesn't count as having 6 seats) and we went to Hawi Ethiopian, but never actually got to eat there I don't feel like telling the story, but the trip there was a wash. Called an Uber and got the best driver/truck ever. Gave him a bottle of wine and got bottles of water (Ithaca tap was oily and filled with sediment). At the karaoke bar, K-House, Marie ordered the table Garbage Fries: loaded cheese fries with dumplings, spring rolls and kimchi. I sang 3 songs because the place was empty, but Melissa was busy throwing up because of all we had eaten that day. My stomach hurt too, so we decided it best to head home. Unfortunately the only Lyft driver in Ithaca with "6 seats" was Trunk Man, but we made it back for an early 11:30 bedtime.
I stayed up until almost 1 reading maps for Toronto. But that's for another post!
Overall, Finger Lakes region rocks and I would love to take a group up for a wine, beer, cider tour. Plus waterfall hikes!
Up Next: Ithaca solo, driving to Niagara Falls, and my first visit to Canada!
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